2013 Alfa Romeo Spider to be Based on Chrysler Rear-Wheel-Drive Platform

Automobile Staff
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Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled his five-year plan for Fiat today that includes several new Fiat cars based on Chrysler platforms. The notables include a new 2013 Alfa Romeo Spider that will be based on Chrysler’s rear-wheel-drive platform -- at which point Alfa Romeo will have made its long-awaited U.S. return with the next-generation MiTo -- along with a large Giulia sedan and station wagon which launch in 2012.

The use of a Chrysler platform suggests the Mercedes-derived rear-wheel-drive platform used for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. However, for Alfa and its primary market of western Europe, the RWD cars will certainly be smaller, in the D- or C/D-segment size. The 2009 Chrysler 200C concept (pictured here) served as proof that the LX rear-drive platform is flexible enough to be downsized to a European-market midsize car. If the Spider is built on that platform, it's an indication that it can be downsized further, to a two-seater.

The Alfa Romeo dealership network is to be integrated with U.S. Maserati dealers.

Chrysler and Lancia will be fully merged, Marchionne said at Fiat Group's investor conference Wednesday. The models, whether based on Fiat or Chrysler platforms, will be sold as Lancias in Continental Europe and as Chryslers in Great Britain and the North American Free Trade Association market. They include a new D-segment sedan, a Sebring replacement, in calendar year 2013; a C-segment Voyager minivan, likely Fiat-based, in calendar year 2011; a new D-segment Chrysler-based minivan in '13; a Musa MPV in '12, and a new Ypsilon mini next year.

It's not clear whether all those models will be sold by Chrysler dealers in the U.S., though in Marchionne's five-year plan for Chrysler last year, he indicated an Ypsilon-sized car will be sold under the Chrysler brand.

Fiat and Dodge models will merge worldwide, except for the Challenger, Charger and Viper, which will be Dodges only in any markets outside NAFTA. Marchionne says he plans to take the Jeep brand global (it is, kind of, now, but not in great numbers).

Also, the Fiat 500 on sale here late this year will get a facelift in 2012, and the Panda will be refreshed in 2014. A new B-segment Dodge/Fiat will launch in calendar '12, including NAFTA markets.

A new C-segment model, replacing the Dodge Caliber here, goes on sale in 2012, with a new bodystyle based on the car's Fiat platform, launching in 2013. It will share its platform with the new-for-'13 Fiat Punto.

Beginning in 2011, Chrysler will build a new D-segment CUV for Fiat, based on the Dodge Journey.

--Todd Lassa

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